A charity supporter and former vicar who volunteered at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, the British Legion and was part of the Isle of Wight Music Dance & Drama Festival Committee, has been jailed for 7 years and 2 months after being found guilty of historic indecent assault, including abusing an altar boy.
John Charles Hibberd, 77, was found guilty of six counts of indecent assault dating back as far as 1967 when he appeared at Kingston Crown Court in London yesterday (Friday).
Hibberd, originally from Chiswick in London, worked as a priest in the area before joining the staff of the Diocese of London as finance secretary. He was there for 12 years before retiring to the Isle of Wight when he moved into a bungalow at Lake. He worshiped at the Church of the Good Shepherd in the town.
Hibberd’s sentencing has come after one of his victims contacted the police in 2013 to make a allegation of sexual abuse dating back decades. The unnamed victim became an altar boy and Hibberd targeted him for abuse. During the investigation, two other victims were identified and contacted by the Police.
After gathering evidence, officers arrested 77-year-old Hibberd at his home in Lake and charged him in March 2014 with six counts of indecent assault on a boy under 14 between 1967-1982. He categorically denied all the offences put to him and refused to admit any wrongdoing against the victims of his crimes.
*John Hibberd did not have any connection with the Medina Marching Band
There is no evidence or suggestion that any crimes were committed during his time on the Island or as part of these organisations, or that any organisation failed to safeguard.
DC Nikki Honey of the Metropolitan Police’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command says it is not inconceivable that he may have abused more boys. She said:
“Hibberd preyed on vulnerable young boys who didn’t really understand what was happening to them at the time.
“As in many cases of this nature, the victims did not complain, due to the fact that the assailant was a vicar. This coupled with the embarrassment, and the belief that they themselves would be in trouble.
“It is not inconceivable that he may have abused more boys and I would urge any other victims to contact the police via 101.”